Memo: Milkamania On Its Way?
Let’s see what’s in today’s Morning Memo:
Is it possible that Danica Patrick could be just the second-highest-finishing female driver in the 2011 Daytona 500? Yes, I do believe it is. Not probable, but definitely possible.
Word came out last week that Milka Duno has signed to drive an ARCA car for established Nationwide Series team-owner, Todd Braun, this coming season.
From there, who knows how the stock-car future of the 37-year-old Venezuelian will go. Or where it will go.
Duno is a veteran of the IndyCar Series. Just like Danica.
Duno is scheduled to make her ARCA debut at Daytona during Speed Weeks next February. Just like Danica.
Some will say that is where the similarities between Patrick and Duno end.
Some say that Patrick is clearly the better driver, the more experienced driver, the more worthy driver. And they will say that Duno is just cashing in – shirt-tailing as it were – on the Danicamania which has descended like lake-effect snow upon the stock-car racing world.
And it could be that Duno will just squeeze her 15 minutes – or 15 laps (which ever comes first) – out of the ARCA thing and then move back to IndyCars or to the NHRA or where ever.
But then again, who knows. Auto racing is an odd thing. It can be tough to look inside a driver and tell what’s in there. Can’t-miss prospects do miss and no-way prospects find ways. Some just adapt better to specific situations in racing than do others.
Here I cite the the Juan Pablo Montoya vs. virtually every other open-wheel crossover since Tony Stewart example.
Some figure Duno’s stock-car foray will be as short and as uninteresting as was that of former world driving champion Jacques Villeneuve.
Most figure she is just fishing for attention.
At best, many think, she will start and park. And at worst, well, many think she will not be able to keep the car on the track at Daytona long enough to park it.
But Duno is not without portfolio. She has won championships (the Panoz GT Series), she’s won races (in the Grand-Am Rolex series), and she competed with the best of the big boys (she was second in the Daytona 24 in 2007).
Duno has 27 starts in the IndyCar Series.
Do I think it’s probable that she will make it big in stock cars? Absolutely not.
Do I think she could beat Danica if they both opt to drive in the Daytona 500 in 2011? Absolutely. She’s done it before. Most recently in the season-finale of the 2009 IndyCar series at Homestead-Miami Speedway when Duno finished 17th and Patrick 19th.
In between them that day was Sarah Fisher. Don’t get me started on that one – until next week at the earliest.
Memo to self: Check to see if all NASCAR tracks have both his and hers showering facilities.
Bring ‘em on
Could the blue oval, the bow tie and whatever it is that that Toyota logo looks like soon be challenged by the three-pointed star, the whirling propeller, the prancing horse?
Depends how you define soon, but it is looking more and more that more foreign-based auto makers will be welcomed into NASCAR.
NASCAR chairman and CEO Brian France has said more foreign participation has been explored and will be welcome.
The boss of at least one current manufacturer in the series say he would have no problem with Mercedes or BMW or even Ferrari coming over.
Brian Wolfe of Ford told RacinToday last season, “As more competition comes in, as more people get interested, that’s good.”
Asked if he thought that a foreign invasion would drive fans away, Wolfe said no.
“I don’t think it would drive anybody away,” he said. “When Toyota came in, they said it would be like that” and it hasn’t happened.
Memo to self: Call boss France and make sure rules are in place to keep the drivers and team members from wearing those goofy straight-brimmed caps.
…I hope you had a relaxing off season, Mike Davis. Because as public relations man for both Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Danica Patrick in 2010, you won’t be doing much relaxing from here on out.
…Steve Addington will not need to entirely rework his business cards for next season. Addington, who was crew chief for Kyle Busch last year will be crew chief for Kurt Busch next year. A little dab of White Out over three letters of the first name and presto!
…The Camping World Truck Series’ gain looks to be America’s loss. Some of us were really hoping that Kyle Busch would take a swing at Formula One as driver of the USF1 entry in the near future.
– Jim Pedley can be reached at email@example.com Comments